PARIS (Nov. 7)
Neither Arab nor Jewish sources were in a position today to confirm rumors circulating here that peace negotiations between Israel and the Arabs are already in progress in Paris.
Circulation of the rumors began following a conference here yesterday at which acting mediator Dr. Ralph Bunche and Brig. Gen. William Riley, chief U.N. observer in Palestine, indicated to representatives of Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon that the Arabs had practically lost the war in Palestine. (An official Israeli spokesman in Tel Aviv emphatically denied that any peace talks were going on anywhere with any Arab state.)
Gen. Riley presented his conclusions to the representatives of the four Arab states during a three-hour meeting. The U.N. official; during his report to the Arabs, illustrated his points with the use of military maps. He said that the truce is dead and that the Jews command the situation and can take any action they wish against the Arabs who, he added, are at the mercy of the Jews.
Gen. Riley emphasized during his talk with the Arab representatives that he is interested only in the military angle and not in any political aspects of the Palestine situation. Reports were circulating here over the week-end that Egypt is already negotiating with Israel on the question of peace.
The report on the present Palestine military situation was brought by Gen. Riley to the acting mediator. It is clear here that Riley’s report has brought about a change of political climate. Arab leaders were scheduled to meet here late this afternoon at an urgent conference to discuss the new situation.
SHERTOK DUE IN PARIS TODAY: SECURITY COUNCIL POSTPONES MEETING
It is understood that Egypt will demand–if and when the Israeli-Arab peace negotiations begin formally–that the first item on the negotiators’ agenda be the question of the Arab refugees. Rumors concerning peace negotiations are now emanating from various sources. The general impression in United Nations circles is that Transjordan and Egypt are anxious to adopt this new political line, while Syria and Lebanon openly accuse them of double-creasing and damaging the interests of the other Arab states.
While today passed quietly insofar as official activities at the Palais de Chailott were concerned, the crop of unconfirmed rumors regarding Palestine was richer than over before. Meanwhile, the Security Council, which was scheduled to meet tomorrow to continue discussions on the Palestine case, has called off its session in view of the new situation.
Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Shertok is expected to arrive here tomorrow from Tel Aviv to take over the leadership of the Israeli delegation. Several members of the U.N. Security Council have asked Gen. Riley to submit to the Council the same information He presented to the Arab leaders yesterday.